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Tokyo shares close down 0.61%


Tokyo shares closed down 0.61 percent Wednesday after a mixed performance on Wall Street, with the yen's gains against the dollar and euro dragging down the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 75.15 points to 12,239.66, while the Topix index of all first-section shares was 0.43 percent, or 4.48 points, lower at 1,031.42.

Despite Wednesday's sell off, the Nikkei would likely keep rising over the next few weeks amid talk that a new leadership team at the Bank of Japan will launch aggressive easing to boost the economy, dealers said.

"Speculation for BoJ easing will likely further grow ahead of the April 3-4 policy board meeting, which weakens the yen," Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management, told Dow Jones Newswires.

"I expect the Nikkei to hit 13,000 by the fiscal year end" at the end of March, he added.

On forex markets, the dollar fetched 95.70 yen, from 96.05 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon, while the euro also weakened to 124.75 yen, compared with 125.19 yen.

The yen's advance was given support by reports that Japan's main opposition party would vote against the nomination of Kikuo Iwata as one of two deputy BoJ governors.

However, Iwata's nomination is still expected to pass the legislative chamber with support of small opposition groups.

Major exporters fell in Tokyo, with Olympus losing 2.84 percent to 2,289 yen and Kyocera slipping 1.14 percent to 8,630 yen. Toyota fell 1.00 percent to close at 4,910 yen.

GS Yuasa, which makes batteries for the grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner, was up 0.67 percent at 447 yen while All Nippon Airways, a major Dreamliner customer, rose 1.48 percent to 205 yen after US air-safety regulators on Tuesday approved test flights of the grounded plane.

Japan Tobacco shares jumped 7.19 percent to 3,205 yen as the company wraps up a partial sale of the government's stake in the former monopoly. Tokyo was expected to raise about $7.8 billion from the offering.